Parents, guard your TVs. Decades after cigarette advertising was kicked off the airwaves, it’s back but with a new twist—the advertising is for e-cigarettes. For those of you unfamiliar with the product, e-cigarettes heat liquid nicotine into a vapor. The result is there is no smoke or smell associated with the cigarettes. However, it’s not yet clear what the health effects are and if they parallel that of traditional cigarettes.
Unfortunately, many kids may already consider the e-cigs to be healthier or “safe” as compared to regular cigarettes. Initial studies show the popularity of “e-cigs” or “vapors” rising among teens, especially when the e-cigarettes come in kid-tempting flavors like mocha mist. There’s even a term that sounds cool for smoking e-cigarettes: “vaping.”
As always, it’s our job as the guardians of our childrens’ health to be on the front lines and talk to them about the potential dangers of e-smoking. The fact that well-known actors, musicians and public figures are now being photographed “vaping” only reinforces the message to our youth that this is a cool new trend. This makes it all the more imperative that you as a parent educate yourself about e-cigarettes so you can communicate the potential dangers to your kids.
Educate yourself about this new health threat and then talk to your kids to find out what they know, what they don’t know, and how the two of you will work together to keep everyone smoke—and vapor—free.
About Dr. Michael Popkin
For nearly 10 years, Dr. Michael Popkin has served as the spokesperson for the Youth Smoking Prevention Program “Real Parents. Real Answers.” Popkin is the founder of Active Parenting publishers and the author of many award-winning, video-based parenting education programs. “Real Parents. Real Answers.” is anchored by the website www.realparentsrealanswers.com, where parents can find a variety of tools and materials to assist them in raising happy, healthy kids that make good choices, including not smoking.